By Joe Berkeley

Under a warm sun and blue sky that appeared to be ordered by Newport’s Committee to End the Tyranny of Winter, 21 Laser sailors competed for glory.

After five races, Peter Shope, the defending US Masters National Champion sailed to victory, despite the fact that he capsized in a race. If he had capsized in another, the day would’ve been won by Christine Neville, who was just one point behind Shope in second overall.

Fleet 413’s Olympic hopeful, Neville is actively seeking sponsorship to help her achieve her dream of representing the United States in the Women’s Laser Radial at the Rio Olympics in 2016. She is a great match for any company that values integrity, hard work and sportsmanship.  The details are on her website:

Steve Kirkpatrick finished the day in third, Dan Neri, who had some spectacular comebacks, was fourth, and Will Donaldson was fifth.

Many fleet 413 stalwarts are gearing up for the Master Worlds in Canada in 2015. The event, which is July 10-18 in Kingston, is a unique opportunity to attend a World Championship. You can bring your own car, your own boat, and be part of the camaraderie that is fleet 413 on an international roadie. The usual suspects will be competing for glory: Peter Shope, Scott Ferguson, Steve Kirkpatrick, Mark Bear, and Dan Neri, and Scott Pakenham-Beaker.

That said, you don’t have to be in contention to land on the podium to enjoy this event. The sailing is first class, the people are great, and the price is extremely affordable in that you don’t have to fly ($1000 to France last year), you don’t have to charter a boat ($1500 this year,) and you’re not getting hammered by an unpleasant currency exchange (France last year.)

Andy Roy, who almost won his division at the Worlds last year, and is hosting this year, wrote this special Top Ten List exclusively for Fleet 413.

Top Ten Reasons you don’t want to miss the Laser Masters Worlds at CORK (Kingston) this July:

1.     1. Arguably the best fresh water sailing venue in North America (* see below)

2.     2. Tremendous competition guaranteed for all levels of sailors.

3.    3. It will be the 35th anniversary of the famous 1980 Laser Worlds.

4.    4. Experienced hosts in running a number of world sailing championships.

5.     5. A number of great social events are being organized.

6.    6. A beer garden will be set up a few feet away from our boats.

7.     7. Low Canadian dollar right now ($0.80).

8.     8. Low cost, decent housing available at the local University – close to CORK site.

9.    9. Plenty of great restaurants and pubs in downtown Kingston (5 min drive from CORK).

10.  10. Great training opportunities at CORK leading up to the Worlds: join in on the 90-boat rabbit start practice races with the young dudes who will be getting primed for the Open Worlds (standard rig), and/or race in the Canadian Championships in June 20-21 (standard, radial and 4.7).

*Located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario and the head of the St. Lawrence River, the combination of land mass, islands and thermal effects produce excellent wind and wave conditions with very little current. Winds during July are predominantly from a south-westerly direction, with an afternoon wind range of 10-15 knots. Water temperature varies between 64 to 72 degrees (Fahrenheit) with normal air temperature being 75 to 85 degrees. Racecourse is a short sail from shore.

The Worlds is also a good excuse to upgrade your Laser. When your spouses says, “Hey, what’s with the new sail?” you can say, “Oh, I had to buy it. I’m going to the Worlds.”

Bonus. If you commit now, you can also use the Worlds as an excuse for getting out of any unpleasant social events for the next several months. “Oh, Sweetheart, I would love to attend your cousin’s wedding over the 4th of July weekend in that God-forsaken inland location but I simply cannot. I. MUST. TRAIN. LIKE. SHOPE!!!”

The details are at

The folks at Laser Performance in Portsmouth who helped Fleet Captain Jack McVicker outfit not one, not two, but three of 413’s fleet boats have sold three Lasers to Fleet 413 members during their Sale Day Extravaganza.

Steve and John Kirkpatrick both bought slightly scratched new boats. Then Steve used his legendary powers of persuasion to convince your easily corrupted correspondent into buying a slightly scratch boat that was used in a display.

According to Laser sailors, dealers and those in the know, the new LP boats, which are built in the UK, are all very close in weight and rake. One reason frequently cited by the numerous sources is the fact that the UK factory that builds Lasers only builds Lasers. There is a slick video of the build where you can see craftsmanship intercut with seamanship:

The bare hulls are wrapped in plastic bags, stacked in Styrofoam cradles and shipped from Banbury, UK to Portsmouth, Rhode Island where the hardware is carefully installed in a spacious shop.

Speaking of hardware, after the frostbite season is over, you may want to re-caulk all of the fittings on your Laser.  When last weekend’s sailing was cancelled, professional surveyor Dwight Escalera of put on a clinic on how moisture enters a Laser hull. Dwight placed his $500 pro-quality pin-less moisture meter on a hull in various places. His detector gives a number that indicates water content inside the laminate and a corresponding color bar; green is good, yellow is caution, red is “stop, this boat is a wet log!” The meter always went up when it was near the fittings. He also had a small mallet that he used to tap the boat. To his trained ear, changes in tone indicated the presence of water or delamination of the substrate.

To keep moisture out of his boat, ten-time World Champion and Dynamic Dolly founder Peter Seidenberg strips all of the hardware off of his brand new hull, enlarges all of the holes in the gel coat with a counter sink, then applies a generous bead of caulk to seal out moisture. Where possible, he also uses the countersink to enlarge the hole in the fitting where it meets the deck to create more room for caulking to make it more difficult for water to enter. Then he mounts inspection ports on each side of the centerboard trunk so he can sponge out the hull after each use and occasionally rinse it out with fresh water.

Putting two six-inch holes in a brand new hull for inspection ports is controversial, but Peter is a ten-time World Champion, so there is that. The story of how to Seidenberg your Laser is here:

Peter was kind enough to add some context to the story. In an email, he wrote, “On “Seidenbergizing” a Laser, or any boat, it is important to point out that the countersinking should only be done in the gelcoat, not into the fiberglass. The intent is to create a crater and, thus, space for the caulking to remain around the screw when the fitting is reattached. Better yet would be to countersink the underside of the fitting as well to create even more space for the caulking. The more space, the better. This guarantees that no water will ever seep along the screw into the laminate and/or into the cavity of the boat. When reinserting the screw into the hole it is important not to create a secondary thread, which can lead to the stripping of the primary thread. A good way to find the old thread is to turn the screw counter-clockwise under some pressure until one feels a “click” indicating that the screw has “fallen” into the beginning of the old thread, then to proceed with the insertion of the screw. I do this with every fitting on my boat, including the grab rails in the cockpit. I wished the boat builders would do this as a matter of course. A hole drilled into any material creates a burr around the hole that flattens out under the fitting and squeezes out any caulking placed around the screw with good intentions.”

After a complete season of frostbiting, with massive temperature changes, icing and thawing, your Laser deserves this kind of TLC and you probably already have a tube of silicone on a shelf.  You also have a counter sink somewhere in the bottom of an old coffee can. Surely you will find it five minutes after you buy a new one.

Recently, I visited Dynamic Dollies in Portsmouth, Rhode Island to purchase not just a Laser dolly, no I wanted a special edition Mark Bear style dolly. That’s a Dynamic Dolly with Seitech brackets on the side to keep your boat from flipping when it’s in the dry sail area.

Dynamic Dolly’s General Manager Chris Souza, and Assistant Manager Ben Spiller were none too pleased with the idea of naming this limited edition dolly after fleet 413’s favorite professor. Perhaps they didn’t want to pay royalties, as the Bear name is endorsement gold. But the team was happy to build my dolly with:

-Seitech flip-up side brackets

-One-piece tongue tube for extra stiffness when rolling aboard the trailer

-Seimar no-mar rubber bracket bumpers and bow cushion

-Seidenberg-approved stainless bow hooks with bungee

They will do the same for you, and you don’t need to know the fleet 413 secret hand shake or write a gushing review. Dynamic will customize a dolly for you at no extra charge. The flip side is there are no “Hey Bro!” discounts. Hit them up at   If you go with the extra stiff, full-length, one-piece tongue tube, you have to pick it up in person at the Portsmouth factory, as it will not fit in a shipping box.

Kayaks, which are multiplying faster than windsurfers back in the early 1980s, have been good to Dynamic Dollies and their shop is full of orders to get paddlers onto the water. Dynamic signed a new distributor to invade Europe where the market is dominated by steel dollies that are heavy enough to serve as weapons of mass destruction. Dynamic must be doing well because Assistant Manager Ben is rolling a sweet, new, Mercedes whip with gorgeous Universe Blue Metallic paint, blingy wheels, rumbly exhaust note, and chrome-covered exhaust tips.

After just six days of sailing at the Worlds, the batten pockets on my brand new Hyde sail ripped off. Allerton Harbor Canvas of Hull, Massachusetts, who sewed the sail back together again, is looking for a young, off-to-college-in-the-fall, go-getter who will work there for the next couple of summers learning all the tricks of the canvas trade. To learn more, send Jay Hanks an email at:  

Noted rigger Mark Van Note of Newport has accepted a job with former Laser builder Peter Johnstone who now builds Gunboats in Wanchese, North Carolina. Van Note is a deck and sail plan project manager, a cool job title if there ever was one. Van Note has moved to Wanchese.

Fleet 413’s Andy Pimental participated in the Don Q Snipe regatta in Miami where he finished 6th overall. Complete results are at:  Andy works on many fleet member’s Lasers, including Mark Bear’s. If your yacht needs some post-frostbiting, pre-Worlds TLC, hit him up at There is no sailing on Easter Sunday so this may be a good time to schedule some care with the boat doctor.

Joe Berkeley is a freelance writer and the fleet 413 scribe. He won a race on Sunday and Moose McClintock suggested he interview himself. His work is at